What is a Serge Greatcoat?

Many folks think that winter weather and exquisite style don’t go together, but the reality is that as the temperature decreases, your wardrobe enlarges with the infinite possibilities of layering. The greatcoat is a prime example of this because it is among the warmest, most comfortable, and most elegant type of jacket you can own.

How the Greatcoat Started

Like most men’s cold-weather clothing, the use of greatcoats starts on the battlefield. It set the bar for how a winter trench coat should be when it first appeared during World War I — spacious, functional, and formal. The coat was initially known as “British Warm” because British Army soldiers wore and made the jackets popular–and, of course, because it was warm. It was made primarily from Melton fabric (a massive woolen stitch with fleece-like properties). Just after the war, ordinary people adopted the style (much like they did the trench coat), and greatcoats became men’s fashion staples.

What is Serge

Serge refers to a type of soft fabric knitted with woolen or worsted twill, depending on the type.

They were usually created in relatively loose textures needed for coat and cloak linings in the 18th and 19th centuries. For such applications, a reasonably soft fabric must adhere to the overcoat without making it too stiff.

Some were milled to add density and would be used for applications that needed more body. These would not include the composition of Broadcloth or Kersey, like the sleeves of soldiers’ working outerwear, where adaptability was more essential than density.

Later in the nineteenth century, some denser types of outerwear were produced, both woolen-worsted and entirely worsted garments, especially as a substitute for wool broadcloths for use in tropical climates.

Types of Serge

There are several kinds of serge. The following are examples of the types used in creating greatcoats:

  • Common Serge: A coarse quality with a woolen weft used for the linings of soldiers’ clothing.
  • Milled Serge: A rough serge that has been milled, having caused the woolen threads to shrink and partially cover the warp. It is used to simulate the appearance of a heavier cloth without the weight, density, or expense.
  • Shalloon: A fine full-worsted fabric in use for linings in high-end clothing.
  • Foreign Service Serge: This is a much more densely knitted serge manufactured in the later part of the 19th century. The woolen weft was heavily milled for Soldier’s Frock attires for working wear and hot climates.
  • Khaki Serge: This is like the Foreign Service Serge, but with a Khaki weft.

History Behind the Use of Serge

Man in black coat and umbrella

The finding of an article of silk serge colored with Byzantine motifs in Charlemagne’s burial site, around the 8th or 9th centuries AD, demonstrates the early connection of France, Greece, and silk serge. Clearly, it was given by the Byzantine Imperial Court. 

It also refers to a type of silk twill manufactured in or around Florence during the early Renaissance and utilized for clerical cassocks. 

Since early Saxon times, the majority of English wool has been exported. It was woven into cloth in the Low Countries or France in the early 16th century. Also, in Calais, it became adopted by the Royal monopoly.  However, after the French took control of the town during the Siege of Calais, England began to expand its own weaving industry. 

Moreover, the prominent Wars of Religion in Europe greatly aided this. For example, in 1567, the Calvinist refugees from the Low Countries also included skilled serge weavers, while Huguenot refugees included many linen and silk artisan in the 18th century.

Meanwhile, wool-worsted serges have been around since the 12th century. Worsted warp and woolen weft are used to make modern serges. Denim is a type of fabric with a comparable texture; its term is believed to stem from “serge de Nîmes,” after the French town of Nîmes.

Why Men Adore a Serge Greatcoat

Double-breasted serge greatcoats, which usually have peak lapels and are formal and extra-long, can give a distinctive silhouette while maintaining warmth. The coats have plenty of shoulder room and frequently fall below the knee, which makes them ideal for layering over outfits and other winter garments. The majority are woolen, but they are also available in twill and cashmere, and some have fur or velvet collars.

The length and heaviness of the greatcoat’s cloth make the attire durable and weather-resistant. And, just as every guy should have a top-notch topcoat in his wardrobe, he should also keep a greatcoat in his closet for added warmth and a distinct style.

Extraordinary Gentlemen’s Coat

man walking in large field with black coat

The greatcoat’s significant shapes, proportions, and long lines are inspired by the military past, which imparts a masculine yet elegant appearance. The greatcoat, sported notably by Winston Churchill, King George V, and King George VI, exemplifies the British class. The attire preserves a vibe of exquisite style and finesse vibes that cannot be easily replicated to this day. A personalized greatcoat gives you an impression of dignity and height, both in a classic and modern way.

How to Wear a Serge Greatcoat

The greatcoat was originally intended to be paired with suits, and it still worked fine as a formal outer layer today. Nevertheless, it can also look good on casual outfits. You should check out these helpful ideas suggested by experts:

  • For a more formal look, combine your serge greatcoat with a woolen suit — or a tie, shirt, and flannel pants.
  • Wear your greatcoat casually with dark jeans, a sweater, and a scarf.

Looking for off-the-rack options for the serge greatcoat can be difficult. Custom greatcoats, on the other hand, provide superior quality and are tailored specifically to your frame. Find a bespoke tailor with fitting expertise and is attentive to details. It will have an impact because the serge greatcoat style is based on enlarged lines and visual accents.


Be the head-turner guy everyone adores with a sleek serge greatcoat. Do not let the cold season hinder you from being fashionable. A fabulous outwear can make your entire winter attire hotter (pun intended).  

If you want something that will be perfect according to your preferred style, seek the help of a professional tailor immediately. You can be your own serge greatcoat designer!